[OPE-L] Althusser

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 08 2007 - 08:58:30 EST

Hi Jurriaan:

Well, I guess it came as a shock to everyone (or just about everyone)
who knew about him.  I don't think it really should inform or guide our
interpretation of his perspectives, which were developed at an earlier stage
in his life.

One certainly can't deduce anything about his theory or praxis from that
action.   It's by no means unheard of for someone's mental health to
deteriorate.  Nor does the cause of that deterioration have to be a tendency
already latent in an earlier stage: e.g. changes in brain chemistry can
dramatically alter individual perceptions and behavior.

In solidarity, Jerry

>  when I was a varsity student in New Zealand, leftwing people were all
> raving about Althusser, and when I first studied Marx in a course I was
> introduced to Althusser and so on. It was like, he was the Talcott Parsons
> of Marxism. But, anyway, what did I really know about Althusser himself?
> Well, nothing. What did I know about the intricacies of the politics of
> PCF? Nothing. It was in a sense disembodied theory, insofar as I lacked
> biographical or historiographical context, only later do you read more
> around the subject, and can understand better what it was really about.
> Still later, I learnt he'd gone a bit mad and strangled his wife, came as
> shock to me even although I had already decided he wasn't a good guide to
> Marx anyway (the best thing he did, was to say "Lire le Capital" which I
> did, with a lot of struggle - his co-thinker Etienne Balibar really was, I
> think, a far superior thinker).

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